Administrative Fellowship

UAB Medicine (University of Alabama at Birmingham) is an academic health center located in Birmingham, Alabama. At UAB we pride ourselves as being the premier medical facility in the state and region, with healthcare professionals who are second to none.

As one of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals and a winner of the Women's Choice award, UAB is a national leader in patient care, research, and training. Medical professionals from around the nation look to us to be in the vanguard of medicine, and we deliver on that expectation. Patients look to us for hope when in medical distress, and our nurses and medical staff exceed expectations in providing the highest quality of care, always with the patients and their families in mind.


UAB Medicine offers three unique fellowship opportunities: Hospital Operations, Ambulatory/Academic Operations, and Healthcare Finance. From the beginning of each two-year fellowship, the fellow is incorporated into the executive team, respective to their focus area. Each fellowship offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary experience which consists of rotations and a diverse set of projects.

Under the guidance of an executive sponsor, preceptor, and a council of mentors, this two-year experience is tailored to meet each fellows’ needs and interests, while developing them to be a well-versed healthcare leader. Our goal is to foster critical thinking, process improvement, emotional intelligence, communication skills, strategic thinking, and other competencies to develop and build upon the fellows’ existing foundation which will support them throughout their healthcare administration careers.

Hospital Operations Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations: Quality (CMO), Space Planning, Nursing Leadership (CNO), Strategic Planning, Patient Experience, Clinical Network Development
  • Executive Sponsor: Anthony Patterson, Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services
  • Preceptor: Arpan Limdi, Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Facilities Officer

Ambulatory/Academic Operations Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations: Ambulatory Facility Design, Access Center, Performance Engineering, Patient Experience, Primary Care, Ambulatory Specialty Service, Research and Education Administration
  • Executive Sponsors: Patricia Pritchett, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Services and Selwyn Vickers, Dean of the School of Medicine
  • Preceptors: Patricia Pritchett, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Services and Toni Leeth, Associate Dean of Strategic Planning of the School of Medicine

Healthcare Finance Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations: Hospital Finance, Faculty Practice Plan, Funds Flow, Managed Care, Academic Finance
  • Executive Sponsors: Dawn Bulgarella, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Health System & Senior Associate Dean of Administration & Finance of the School of Medicine
  • Preceptors: Susan Jennings, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Hospital and Mike Heckman, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Health System Foundation
  • **Preferred undergraduate BA in accounting or finance, and/or CPA

Fellows have the opportunity to attend board, planning, executive, and staff meetings; additionally, they are exposed to operational, strategic, and governance issues and decision-making. Fellows are integrated into activities and projects across UAB Medicine offering a breadth of understanding into the functioning of an academic medical center (AMC). Through this experience, fellows are exposed to the internal and external forces shaping UAB Medicine, healthcare in the state of Alabama, and the nation. Each fellowship allows the opportunity to experience the operations and management of a large, nationally recognized AMC, as well as the flexibility to accommodate personal interests within a framework of continuous learning.

The fellow will be offered a competitive salary and benefits package for the duration of the program. Reimbursement is provided for one healthcare conference of choice during the 24-month program. Additionally, relocation assistance may be available. 



Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: October 2, 2019
  • Skype/Phone Interview: Early October 2019
  • On-site Interview: Late October-Early November 2019
  • Official Acceptance Date: November 13, 2019
  • Start Date: Late May-Early June 2020


  • Graduate of a CAHME or AACSB accredited MHA/MSHA/MHSA program OR
  • Graduate of a MBA or MPH program with an emphasis in healthcare management OR
  • Candidate has successfully completed all on-campus, didactic requirements of academic program and will graduate upon completion of a fellowship or residency
    • **Preferred undergraduate BA in accounting or finance, and/or CPA for Healthcare Finance Fellowship

Application Materials

  • Current resume/CV
  • Official graduate school transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • 1 - Academic
    • 2 - Professional
    • 3 - Other
  • Cover letter addressing:
    • What makes UAB Medicine the ideal place for you and why are you pursuing this particular fellowship with hospital operations, ambulatory operations, or healthcare finance?
  • Personal statement addressing (1 page maximum):
    • Why did you choose a career in healthcare leadership?
    • How do you exhibit UAB Medicine’s values: Always Care, Own It, Work Together, and Do Right?
  • Essay (250 word maximum):
    • What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing Academic Medical Centers today? If you became the CFO/CEO/COO of UAB Medicine tomorrow, how would you assure the success of the institution moving forward?



Current Fellow
Esther Grubbe is the current Administrative Fellow for 2019-2021. She is originally from Oxford, Alabama; however, the majority of her family lives in Nebraska. Esther graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration. While at Auburn, Esther held various leadership positions, most notably, serving as the President of the Health and Hospital Administration Organization (HHAO). She has also worked in outpatient private practices throughout her education.

Since graduating from Auburn, Esther began attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she graduated with her Master of Business Administration and will graduate in the spring of 2020 with her Master of Science in Health Administration. Esther pursued the UAB Hospital Administrative Fellowship to gain a deeper understanding of academic medicine and inpatient operations.



Past Fellows
The UAB Hospital Fellowship prepares its trainees for success in a variety of areas in healthcare management. Many fellows stay within UAB Health System after completion of the fellowship. 

  • Jessica Zeller, Xavier University - Planning Director, UAB Health System
  • Dawson Smith, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Director, Network Development and Affiliations, UAB Health System
  • Nisha Patel, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Administrative Director, UAB School of Medicine
  • Frank Sortino, University of Florida - Operations Administrator, UAB Hospital-Highlands
  • Leslie Fair, Texas A & M University - Director, Radiology Services, UAB Medicine
  • Mark Wiersma, Medical University of South Carolina - Operations Manager, Cancer Community Network, UAB Health System
  • Anisa Xhaja, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - Manager, Quality Improvement, UAB Hospital
  • Lee Hammonds, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Associate Vice President, UAB Medicine
  • Martin Smith, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Operations Administrator, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital
  • Akofa Bonsi, University of Michigan - Consultant, The Chartis Group
  • Brian Berthiaume, University of North Carolina - Director, Transplant Operations, UAB Medicine
  • Hashir Hamza, University of Minnesota - Strategic Projects Coordinator, Multi-Organ Transplant Program, University Health Network
  • Jordan DeMoss, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Vice President Clinical Operations, UAB Hospital
  • Melissa Mancini, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Associate Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, UAB Health System
  • Ragan Manning, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Senior Director, Resource Utilization, UAB Hospital


The Hospital Operations Internship at UAB Medicine provides qualified individuals with a comprehensive experience in health care management to complement and enhance the foundations of their academic programs. The position is a paid 12-week commitment. Interns are integrated into hospital leadership teams and given hands-on projects that reflect strategic priorities as well as their interests. Attendance and participation in departmental and senior management meetings are encouraged. The ultimate goal is to gain a valuable professional experience while engaging in UAB’s mission and values and demonstrating leadership potential.

Project Work to Support a Learning Experience

  • Support the functions of the inpatient leadership team as assigned by the preceptor.
  • Take ownership of and play an active role in projects directly related to operational and strategic goals of the inpatient team, i.e. driving revenue, decreasing costs, and improving patient throughput.
  • Provide oral and written communications to convey ideas, reports, and other deliverables. 
  • Shadow in clinical areas and support services.
  • Attend leadership meetings and participate in employee engagement initiatives.

Arpan Limdi, Chief Facilities Officer, UAB Medicine/Vice President-Clinical Operations, UAB Hospital

Application Dates and Timeline

  • Applications due in early February 2020
  • Interviews to be scheduled for early to mid-February 2020
  • Start and end dates are somewhat flexible for the 12-week internship